Sunday, December 14, 2014

Clinic News, Christmas Festivities and Lots of Hoops

Oh dear the last few days have been a true whirlwind.  If you were around me at all last week, you know that I did not handle the scan last week very well at all.  David had been complaining for about two weeks about severe belly pain and it was really making us nervous.  Belly pain is how he was diagnosed three years ago and anytime he mentions his belly our ears perk up. 

More clinic information below, but the best news is that the ultrasound and CT scan showed that his organs are happy and healthy and that he is now 2.5 years cancer-free!  Glory to God!

 
Hope is obsessed with writing, drawing, coloring etc... and I was cleaning up piles of her creations and found this.  I guess sweet girl has really been listening to the Nativity story about Jesus' birth! 

 
The last few weeks have been full of basketball!  Kyle has played on an AAU team for many years and now most of his teammates are playing on different middle school teams.  It is cool to know that these awesome group of guys can play on different teams during the week and play together on the weekends.  I really dig these guys.

 
Here is sweet David getting his IV for his ultrasound and CT Friday.  It was intense getting the IV but  he did GREAT!!  We were so proud.  The clinic staff is amazing. 

 
Amazingly we ran into Nurse Kendall!  She was one of our favorites on the floor when David was going through chemo.  She shared with us that she is expecting her third little baby in a few months. 

 
Our boy is really growing up.  He handled the ultrasound like  a champ!  The girl doing his ultrasound started rolling up his shirt and she then lowered the lights to begin the test.  David looked at me with these enormous eyes and said "well this is awkward!"  He cracks us up! I drove myself crazy with my untrained, unprofessional eye trying to read the ultrasound.  I asked her a million questions which she is not allowed to answer for us. 

After the ultrasound we moved on to the CT scan.  The hardest part of the day besides the IV was going until 12:30 with no food or drink.  David calls the CT machine "riding the doughnut" which I think is pretty accurate.  He did so well!  It always freaks me out that Mike and I have to suit up in protective gear to even be in the room with that much radiation when our baby has had a bazillion of these?! 

We got to see several friends in clinic.  We saw sweet Wes, who is currently in treatment for neuroblastoma.  Here is the beautiful Anna who has been off of treatment for leukemia for almost a year!  Isn't she beautiful?!

Anna had labs drawn and David had an IV and labs so they each got to visit the toy box.  Thank you to all the sweet souls who gave toys for the kids birthdays last summer.  A trip to the toy box makes ouchies all better!  It is nice to end clinic with a stop at the toy box to reward them for their bravery. 


David and the amazing Dr. Belyea!  He and I emailed back and forth a lot last week prepping me and David for the appointment.  He is so compassionate, smart, and kind.  Our visits feel more like old friends chatting about life, parenting, and David's overall health.  He is simply amazing and we are so thankful for him.  We are now halfway through the magic five year period where David will receive routine imaging to make sure his cancer has not returned.  In 2.5 years if he is still cancer free, he will be turned over to Dr. Peterson for survivor's clinic. 
 
On the way home, Dr. Belyea called me with the amazing news that David's labs and tests were all normal!!  Praise be to God!  I stopped off in Radford at the nursing home to tell my grandma for her birthday. 

 
To celebrate a clean scan we spent a good portion of the weekend cheering on the Hornets!  We love this group of boys and David is the self appointed third coach! 

 
After church this afternoon we went back to church for youth group.  Kyle's youth group is sponsoring 11 families for Santa's Elves.  Last weekend they shopped and this weekend was wrapping weekend.  I can honestly say that my son now knows how to wrap a present!  Our group has a family with four children so we had a lot of wrapping to do!  It was not as pretty as I would have liked for it to have been wrapped, but they worked hard:)

 
We ended this crazy and wonderful last few days back at church tonight for family Advent night.  We gathered at church for a potluck meal, then the children made Christmas cards while the adults worked together to make fruit baskets.  We then loaded up on the bus and went to the nursing home to sing, visit and hand out the fruit baskets.  It was a precious way to end a whirlwind of the last few days.  To watch my shy baby girl hand out cards and fruit baskets to the elderly touched my heart. 
 
I am overwhelmed by the love we received last week from out friends.  For lots of different reasons last week was hard.  I am so thankful for the awesome friends who helped us through a rough week and helped us with Hope and David.  We are blessed and so thankful to God for the wonderful news Friday.  He carries us when our burdens get to heavy to carry and I felt His presence last week.  He truly is Emmanuel-God is with us!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week in Review

December is so festive and awesome and we have sure been busy this past week. 

 
Kyle made the middle school basketball team and we are having fun attending the games and cheering him on.  He has great coaches and great teammates!  Their busy schedule is keeping us hopping but it is so much fun. 

 
David was the photographer for this picture of the Robinson girls before we headed to the Nutcracker ballet for the day with Misty and Sydney. The whole day was so much fun!  We saw the ballet, did a little shopping and then had an early dinner.  Watching the Nutcracker brought back so many memories of dancing it as a student with Mrs. Upp growing up. 

 
Before the ballet we hit the Thomas Musser 5K for St Jude.  Here is David with Jason's twin brother, Jonas who ran the race. 

 
Local children's pictures lined the homestretch of the race and I gasped when I saw David's.  My emotions were already in high gear as this is a scan week for us.  More on that later.  Sigh.

 
More Nutcracker pictures!  After having boys all these years it is such a treat to have a girly day with friends.  Hope and Sydney take ballet together and it was magical to watch their faces as these dancers came on stage.  Hands down The Nutcracker is my favorite ballet ever. 

 
While we were at the ballet our husbands were sending us more 5K race pictures.  Evidently our boys did the one mile fun run! 

 
Hope and Sydney with the prima ballerina! She was amazing.

 
Saturday night one of our AAU basketball Moms hosted a sleepover for the team.  I went to her house early Sunday morning to help get the boys fed and ready for church.  I giggled when I went in and saw that she had taken all their phones at bedtime!  She said they couldn't have them back until they were completely ready for church:)

 
Sunday morning most of the team came to church which was a great end to a great sleepover.  These boys have been together for five years playing ball.  We are so thankful for the memories we have all made, the friendships formed, and the great coaching!  Theses boys play middle school ball for different teams, but for AAU tournaments they will all come together and play as a team.  Thanks Sarah for hosting such a fun night. 

 
Sunday afternoon GG and Pops took David and Hope to cheer on the Virginia Tech basketball team,  Kyle had youth group Christmas project, and I had my big fundraisisng dinner and show for the preschool.  Hope and David not only got to see their cousin Clayton, but they got to see Seth Allen-their favorite Hokie! 
 
So this week is scan week.  We are very nervous and concerned because David has been complaining of high belly pain.  Anytime David says anything hurts it makes me want to throw up.  This is hard stuff but I know that God will be with us.  We are also nervous because for previous scans we knew what to expect.  It was a long day but it was not necessarily a hard day for David because he was sedated. 
 
This time we are switching from CT scans to xrays and ultrasounds.  He will not be sedated but will have to have an IV.  Facing something new makes me nervous and knowing that the day potentially could be stressful for David makes me really nervous. Dr. B explained to us last time that we are at the point post-treatment that the rate of relapse has gone down coniderably (praise God for that) but late effects from all the chemo and radiation could be surfacing.  Xrays and Ultrasounds are good ways to make sure all his major organs are happy and healthy after all the treatment he did receive.  So that is what we are facing Friday.  I dread it but it must be done.  
 
We ask for your prayers for David (and for us) this week.  Even though we have been very busy this past week, I have been so thankful for the distractions and festivities of the year to keep me distracted from the scan.  No matter what we face we have learned from experience that our faithful and amazing God will always be with us. Amen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Break

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and Christmas break.  I love when time slows down for a few days and we can be in charge of our schedule.  It has been a great few days off.  Thanksgiving always brings back some sad feelings for me from those early days of David's diagnosis when we were gearing up for chemo to start the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I remember my Mom sent me and Mike out to Walmart on Thanksgiving day after we ate our chicken tenders and fries in the cafeteria.  I remember Mike and I both were just so sad what David was facing and we just wandered aimlessly around  Charlottesville Walmart. 


Blessedly this year we were home and woke up to a gorgeous winter wonderland!  It was the perfect snow-three or four inches in the trees to make for a beautiful drive to Radford on a clear and plowed interstate. 
 
We spent Thanksgiving day in Radford with my family.  My brother and his clan could not join us because the flu bug had set up residence in their home.  My 95 year-old great aunt Louise joined us!  She is such a blessing and a precious soul.  We all laughed how tall Kyle looks next to her.  Kyle has grown a few inches, but Louise is tiny. 


Maybe next Thanksgiving David will be as tall as she is too?!  We just love Louise! Louise has been a widow for many, many years and her two children died within a week of each other many years ago.  Can you imagine coming home from one child's funeral to learn that the other one has passed as well?  Tragic, but Louise is a woman full of faith, love for her family, and the funniest personality EVER! 
My grandmother, Louise, and Hope sitting  down to eat Thanksgiving.  My Mom is an awesome cook and we ate well for Thanksgiving. 

 
My pictures are totally out of order, but we did get some decorating done this break and most of our shopping and wrapping has been done.  That trip to Williamsburg helped me get way ahead of the shopping game this year. 


Thanksgiving has also given everyone in this family some much needed downtime.  Mike and the little kids played Life and I enjoyed hearing them laugh and chat as they played.  Mike was a brain surgeon in the game and Hope was a teacher and she still beat them all!  David had to get married per the game, and he said "oh lord no!" 
Friday night my Dad, my Mike, and my boys bundled up to go watch UVA and VT battle it out for the Commonwealth cup.  I grew up a Hokie and my boys are Hokies but Mike got his doctorate at UVA and we are all UVA fans because of what UVA did for David.  The boys and my Dad were rooting for Tech and Mike rooted for UVA.  They stayed warm and were treated to a great game.  VT did pull out  a win and the boys got home around 2 in the morning! 

 
Mike sent me this picture and it made me tear up.  We have some wonderful memories with Pops at Lane Stadium and I was overwhelmed that three years ago David was gearing up to fight cancer and this year he was bundled up talking smack and cheering for the Hokies.  David and Pops are true BFF's and this picture made me smile.

 
My handsome Kyle!  Despite 19 degrees, they didn't get too cold thanks to snow pants, foot and hand warmers, and thick blankets.  I know they made memories they will never forget.  It was a huge game with a lot on the line for both teams.  Both teams played their hearts out and miraculously when the whistle blew Tech was ahead. 

 
The Robinson girls stayed home and wrapped presents.  This girl has a servant heart the size of Texas and she is always under my feet wanting to help me. She has helped me wrap, cook, and clean.  God made her heart full of gold when He created her. May she keep a sweet heart and use it for God one day.

 
Advent season is upon us.  This morning at church I was touched so much.  Advent is so special as we prepare our hearts for Jesus.  The praise band at church rocked it this morning and blessed me.  Our sermon series for the next four weeks is four men and a baby.  Each week we will talk about the birth of Jesus from four different perspectives.  Today we focused on my very favorite story from the bible-Zechariah and Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist.  It has always tendered my heart to think of a teenage Mary and a grandmotherly aged Elizabeth both pregnant with John the Baptist and Jesus at the same time.  Only God could have woven those two women together for two very special purposes.  I could have wept this morning at church.  I love that David (our pastor) is using a very familiar story but making us focus on perspectives that we typically do not consider.  Next week we will focus on King Herod. 
 
 
So, our bellies are full of turkey and all the yumminess we have eaten, we have made some precious memories, and we are in the process of preparing our hearts to welcome the baby in the manager that changed us all.  Pretty awesosme Thanksgiving break!